A little early perhaps but Merry Christmas to one and all! I do hope you’ve had a brilliant year. Mine was pretty good if I do say so myself. It’s been a while since I’ve had any time for blogging but I actually feel in the mood again. About time, did I hear you say? Well, maybe not, but it’ll keep Paddy happy, at the very least!
Some might say there is more to life than catching fish, which I have to say in my case is definitely true, but a few kippers in the net doesn’t exactly go amiss, does it? Here’s a sample of my captures from recent weeks… As summer gave way to autumn I enjoyed some cracking sport on still and running water. In reality I didn’t catch anything dramatic or earth shattering but what I did catch was more than enough to make me a happy bunny – ah, easily pleased I hear you say! But I suspect most site visitors who read the blog would be equally happy, too.
I don’t propose to write about each individual session, just share a few nice pictures. I won’t be naming venues or publishing weights. Not that I can actually remember the last time I weighed a fish. I simply don’t get this obsession with weighing everything we catch, especially when half the scales folk use are wildly inaccurate to start with and the other half appear to own magic scales that add as many pounds as the captor thinks he can get away with. Let’s not kid ourselves, shall we? Some folk deliberately exaggerate weights. Others just think of a number (and frequently double it!). But you know what? It doesn’t matter!Those who get upset about this need a reality check. Beefing about it on Internet forums and in Facebook Groups isn’t going to change a thing and if anything just makes you look petty, pedantic and frankly jealous – ‘Have you seen that picture on the home page, it’s never sixteen! 12lb if he’s lucky. 13 tops…’ And 15 pages later the same meanies, most of whom are still searching for their first double, rightly or wrongly are still dragging some bloke’s reputation through the mud. It’s pathetic. How did it come to this?
Me, I fish for bites. If I turn bites into fish on the bank I’m satisfied. No need for all that cock measuring bollocks! If I manage to take a nice picture then that’s an even bigger bonus, especially as practically all the images you see on here tend to be self-takes. I’ve enjoyed catching a few pike on lures. This one fell to a Daiwa D’Shad (river shad pattern). It was one of three I had in the space of an hour. Nice work when you can get it. I’ve had some nice perch on lures, too. They seem to favour the D’Cranks for some reason. Perhaps it’s the action but I can honestly say I’ve caught more perch than pike on the old D’Cranks so far.
Stu and I finally got around to trying our luck deep jigging on the trout reservoirs, mainly to see how we would get on with the basics of handling the boat, using a feature finder and a drogue.
It was a huge learning curve and we made three big mistakes on a pretty horrible windy day. Not getting on there early enough, failing to take account of the predicted weather and not really having big enough jig heads. You pay to learn. We are wiser now and we’ll be back because it wasn’t half as daunting as we’d imagined and the fishing’s quite fun, too.
This pike (above) wasn’t the monster I’d set out hoping to catch but equally so it wasn’t a fish I was going to look down my nose at. It took a popped-up sardine in an area where I’d seen a big pike crashing into shoals of fry the previous week. Really ought to have returned and put in a bit more effort to be honest. I’m guessing that little window of opportunity is now closed. Shame, but there’s always next year. I also spent a smashing day on a flooded River Trent fishing with Ian Cougill. Ian’s a qualified coach and does a bit of guiding from his boat, all tackle and bait supplied and the real bonus is he doesn’t charge the earth for his services.
Give him a bell on 07960 940576 or email email@example.com if you fancy a memorable day’s fishing afloat. I can thoroughly recommend it.
There’s definitely a bit of a pike theme going on here but at least I’ve being trying to mix it up a bit. The one above’s from a drain. Spotted a swirl, went and got the tackle, chucked out a smelly bait in the heavily coloured water and it was nestling in my net within the hour, although it was rather rude of it to interrupt an interview I was doing with Angling Times over the phone!
Fellow Daiwa consultant Brian Skoyles joined me for a day on the canal. It was cold, slow and thoroughly enjoyable. I think the Gods were preparing to announce that autumn is finally over.
Fish are fish. The harder we try the luckier we get. If only the rest of life was quite so predictable. Sometimes it’s a bitch.
Time for a tinge of sadness.
Roger Wyndham Barnes (1948-2014)
I first met Roger quite a while ago, at an Angling Writers Association do. His wife, Dee was a delightful lady and both left their mark. The sort of people who, if you helped them in any way, would write you an appreciative letter. That’s the sort of kindness that has been lost in an age where everything is so impersonal, instant and electronic. People have forgotten the art of being genteel or how a letter touches the soul.
We first met in Wales, then in Devon at Anglers Paradise for a boozy weekend and I promised to join him for a day on the Thames where he guided from his Suffolk Punt, The Compleat Angler. It will be to my eternal regret I never followed up on Roger’s offer. I did think about it, quite often. It would have been memorable and certainly added a delightful bit of sparkle to my Improve Your Course Fishing Diary column for sure. I met up with him again, in Norfolk, as described here in my mid-November 2010 blog. Again I promised we would fish together. Alas I dithered for too long, he’s no longer with us so I will never get the chance to fish the Thames or anywhere else with Roger.
There’s a wonderful, beautifully written obituary that you might like to read, here: Roger Wyndham Barnes, angler, writer, art school graduate, former schoolteacher, maker and sender of hand drawn homemade cards, bluesman of the Loddon Delta and perhaps most significantly the last surviving working Thames Professional Fisherman. He was just 66.
I often switch on the telly whilst eating lunch and on two occasions recently the angling programme I dropped on showed Roger doing what he loved, guiding on the river in the company of fine men. The lesson we surely must take from tragedy is don’t leave things too long. We’re mortal. Stop putting things off. This is not some kind of rehearsal. Tomorrow may be too late.
Okay, let’s lighten the mood.
Away In A Manger
Football forums tend to be bitter places. Boastful, bitchy and downright angry. They’re not unlike angling forums, I guess. Everyone’s an expert and thinks they could do better than the current manager at their club, unless of course your club is Chelsea. Very rarely do you find good humour.
Very occasionally something breaks that rule. Here’s an example that’s perfectly timed for Yuletide and please note, it’s cut and pasted with the actual spelling and punctuation, I haven’t suddenly got lazy or been struck down with dyslexia:
Poster One: “who play football manger”
Poster Two: “I do , my team is Bethlehem Town.”
Poster Three: “I play as their local rivals, Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Poster Four: “It’s tough to get a result away in a manger”
Poster One (again): ” = why do you take piss out of me”
Enjoyed a cracking day out at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena when it hosted the 2014 PAC Convention. That’s the third football ground where Stu and I have delivered talks.
Old Gord Burton can be relied on to make me smile. ‘What a place!’ He enthused, ‘It’s just like walking up to Maddison Square Gardens, and I’ve been there you know!!!’ One day I must make the effort to go over and fish with him, too. He’s a lovely, lovely bloke.
Another Great Night Out
Can it really be a year since Stu and I delivered our talk to the Nottingham Piscatorial Society members and guests at Kelham Hall in front of a huge turn-out and in the process raised a tidy old sum for the Junior Section?
Well, it was time for another bash, this time in the company of Dave Harrell and Des Taylor. Credit where it’s due, the NPS team certainly know how to organise a brilliant fund raiser.
The Secret Of Happiness
Long, long ago, in a place far away, in the days before the Internet was invented, fishing forums didn’t exist and there was no such thing as social media, no-one owned a smart phone and a tablet was something you got from the Chemist. I’m talking before Matt Hayes had been invented, Martin Bowler wore short trousers, while Carl and Alex’s parents were probably primary school sweethearts.
Yep, we’re only taking the 1990’s…(ish)…
Back then I was a keen angler who had been tricked into writing a few articles by Colin Dyson, in longhand of course.
It petrified me to appear in print. I wasn’t the handsome, confident, erudite charmer you know and love/ hate today. I was introverted, sensitive and shy. Seriously I had confidence issues and it really concerned me back then that by sticking my head over the parapet I might attract criticism and ridicule.
Fortunately David Hall gave me some sound advice. ‘Bob,’ He said, ‘In this game 95% of the people who read your articles will enjoy them for what they are. The other 5% will hate whatever you do. It’s something you can never change no matter how hard you try. You can please the 95% and be very happy or you can obsess on the 5% and be miserable. Some people are driven by bitterness and jealousy. They’ll never go away, but you don’t even have to acknowledge them. It’s your choice.’
Things were far more simple in those days and Tim Berners-Lee has a lot to answer for. He meant well but alas his t’interweb mullarkey gave the idiot fringe a giant platform and a whacking big drum to bang. At a stroke he enabled obnoxious attention seekers worldwide to find others of a similar warped mindset and wreak havoc on a hitherto unimagined scale. The age of the troll was born. It was no longer possible to ignore the five per cent.
If it were just me that received dogs abuse I’d be concerned but I get emails from all sorts of anglers, top blokes at that, who get similar abuse on the net. It’s only when you compare notes on the perpetrators that it becomes clear the same old names crop up again and again. What sad lives these people must lead. Ultimately you have a choice, ignore them (which riles them), engage with them (an open invitation for more abuse) or you stand up and say that’s it, enough is enough, which is the point I’ve reached.
There is always a tipping point, that point of no return when there’s no going back. Mine arrived recently and I decided it was time to bring things to a head, once and for all. You can read exactly what course of action I’ve taken towards the end of this blog.
I’m guessing 95% of readers will absolutely agree with what I’ve done and, like David Hall said, you’ll never please the rest anyway so I won’t even try.
The Times They Are A Changin‘
I spotted this Lawson Wood print while I was up at the hospital a few weeks ago.
Can’t help thinking it depicts how far we’ve come from those caveman days when a copper might give a kid a clip round the ear if he was caught poaching. Nowadays you’d just humiliate the poor sod on social media.
A Blatant Plug
Probably should have mentioned this weeks ago, but you surely already know that Stu Walker and I have eight brilliant DVDs on sale, all in stock and available for next day delivery from the SHOP section of this very web site.
We even have special offers on multiple sets and they make brilliant gifts. They’re selling very well, too, so thank you.
End of commercial break, on with the show.
Here’s a special film from Yorkshire’s top boy band revealing there won’t be snow in Lancashire this Christmas. Apparently folk over there that don’t even know it’s Christmas. You can skip the first 1:30 if you like…
Mentioning boy bands, am I alone in noticing they appear to have discovered that air is extremely heavy? Each time I see a boy band on TV it’s bad enough they stand there, shuffling on the spot like they need a wee, awkwardly bobbing up and down, invariably slightly out of synch, sometimes taking half a step forwards to lean on the front foot for two bends of the knee and then back again, invariably trying to looking pretty when actually they just look pretty vacant.
It’s almost like they’re waiting for the last bus home having been out for a spot of underage drinking but due to inexperience didn’t realise you must first empty your bladder before stepping outside into the cold.
What is most noticeable is they can’t help holding the palm of one hand upwards with fingers spread as if they’re trying to lift a column of air above their heads. Now this air must be incredibly heavy because they never manage to lift it beyond shoulder height before the hand starts to shake and then drop back. The process is repeated several times until the song ends, or, should they get tired, they’ll place the hand over their heart, always whilst trying to look sincere.
A recent development on this awkwardness is the touching of their own genitalia, frequently with an index finger outstretched and pointing downwards. What’s that all about, eh?
Not that boy bands are formulaic. I’m not having that!
An Extreme Message For Macca
Dave McIntyre is a lovely bloke who mainly fishes under the radar but when it comes to catching fish around the world he’s definitely a pioneer who’s been there and done that in spades.
When he decided to go after mahseer in the early days he didn’t book a package with a guiding outfit like you or I might, he simply got a flight to Delhi, bought a moped, drove to the Himalayan border between India and Nepal and stayed there for 3 months. That’s pretty hardcore.
One of his favourite hobbies is catching poisonous snakes with his bare hands. On several levels it’s fair to say he’s a borderline nutter! But it’s his carp fishing exploits that appear to have brought him to the attention of Robson Greene.
Jan’s Great News
Great to hear that Jan Porter has been given the all-clear and I’m so looking I’m looking forward to us sharing a day together when the weather is a little kinder.
We go back a long way and one special evening will probably stick with me forever, a bunch of us fishing at Tyram Hall Lakes, raising money for a good cause, Jan and Lee Jackson playing guitars by the lake, everyone sharing a giant takeaway, downing a few cans, pure magic. Over breakfast the next morning Jan and I discussed mortality and discovered we both had a fear of reaching the grand old age of 42.
Well, that’s a milestone we’ve consigned to the distant past. We beat the first hurdle, how about double or quits, Jan?
Putting In The Miles
And while I’m on the subject of health, good luck to Tony Miles who’s recuperating from a recent heart attack. It’s a long, long time since we last fished together and I would just like to say he’s a great guy.
Looks like he’s been putting his enforced rest to good use by uploading a bunch of his early books to the Amazon store as Kindle editions. They’re dead cheap, too. For example, who wouldn’t want to ownTop Tactics For Big Barbel when it costs just £2.91p?
Is This The Rudest Christmas Song Ever?
Time for a little culture at Christmas. I went to see Fascinating Aida the other week and it was genuinely the best show I’ve seen in ages, intelligent, witty and thoroughly entertaining. Rather disappointed they didn’t sing this little ditty. However, be warned, it’s not for those who are offended by the occasional swear word or three.
If you enjoyed it then do have a look at some of their other material, for instance the Dogging Song, Ofsted and Cheap Flights. The girls don’t seem to get much TV work these days. Can’t think why… 😉
I Think It’s All Ove-r
My wife said I must read this. It’s you, she added, smirking and chuckling, like wives do.
Oh yeah, I thought, knowing her tease had left me with little option. So I read it. And surprisingly loved it. I am indeed Ove. My mate was his mate, right down to the car he drove. You should read it, too. You may well be an Ove.
The book is called A Man Called Ove by Swedish blogger Fredrick Backman.
This is from the BBC review: ‘There is something about Ove. At first sight, he is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots’
Well, that’s me summed up in two dozen words. Go on, treat yourself. It’s brilliant:
They Think It’s All Ove-r…
Here we go then, the bit that some of you have been gagging to read… I know I try and write in a light hearted style but be in no doubt, the following is deadly serious stuff, as are the potential consequences if it fails to achieve a lasting and desired effect. The dominoes are now lined up and ready to be tipped over:
Recently it was brought to my attention that a defamatory Facebook site had been created in my ‘honour’ that was frankly a disgrace. If I say that I was referred to as 2Bobs, BobBobs and Florin then you will have an idea who might have been behind it. Nor will you be surprised that the usual suspects were involved in the ‘bants‘. Oh, how their sides must have ached. It was time to take a leaf out of the book of an old ‘silver fox’.
Facebook pulled the worst comments for contravening its Community Standards, its harassment policy and its hate policy (see one example above). Now I’m sure that gave these guys a huge buzz. Then the site creator nicked my avatar and started posting stuff to give an impression I was involved. Chucklesome, or what?
It’s hardly surprising that I took steps to block access to my Facebook Page to everyone involved but can you believe the brass neck of some folk? A number of those who were blocked complained that I was being unreasonable by naming them on my ‘real’ Facebook page. It truly beggars belief.
I was rather surprised at one ‘friend’ in particular. He had ‘liked’ this site, though he claimed he’d never visited it. Anyway I tipped him off that he’d be doing himself a big favour if he removed his support by Thursday as I would be taking action. He was the only person I gave this information to.
Lo and behold, the entire site disappeared. Not that I had expected any less. Some folk make good messengers, others don’t. I really had hoped for a different response but clearly I was wrong, or right, depending which angle you look at it from. Still, when you lay with dogs you are likely to catch fleas.
It didn’t make one iota of difference because, as you can see, I had already downloaded all the pages and sent a dossier to the Police suggesting this contravened the Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012. Sure enough the Police issued a crime number, carried out their investigations and then came out to see me. They confirmed what I thought all along, this little jape was in breach of offenses that can result in a prison term. What action would I like them to take?
They also asked if a certain little feller had a pot to pee in because the burden of evidence in a civil case is far less demanding (one transgression is sufficient grounds) and I would probably be successful with a damages claim because fishing is my business and they felt the slanderous posts were clearly intended to undermine my reputation. Time you had a word with a solicitor, was the advice given.
The dilemma I have is simple enough. When we’re talking single blokes, then the actions will punish that individual, which is fine, but what if they’re married, have partners and families? Who actually gets hurt? Defendants legal fees alone can be crippling. Is it right that whole families should suffer just because some bloke in a relationship turns out to be an idiot?
It’s a quandary, but not one I need concern myself with for a little while. Let’s get Christmas out of the way. The evidence is on file, in the hands of the Police and the statute won’t run out for ages. And let’s not be under any illusion, several contributors to the page have left themselves vulnerable to the risk of civil action.
What beggars belief is the hangers-on who get suckered in each time haven’t thought through the implications of their actions. Perhaps they think everything is about the ringleader and there will be no come-back on them? Well, they’d better do their homework on Section 2A, you see I’m clearly stating here and now in front of several thousand witnesses that I am feeling ‘harassed, anxious and distressed’. Got that? Might be worth employing a solicitor to explain the implications of that statement.
One poster asked why I was ‘a first class DICKHEAD‘ (his block capitals). Now this is a guy I haven’t bumped into for over a decade. I last met him long before he declared himself an expert barbel angler. It was at an NEC Go Fishing show and he literally begged me to join him and his two mates for breakfast so he could pick my brains about the River Trent.
I gave up a full hour of my time and handed him chapter and verse, on a plate; swims, baits, tactics, the lot, while he and his mates clung on to every single word, practically dewy eyed. Tell you what though, he clearly listened well because I’ve seen enough of his pictures that were taken in the very swims I directed him towards to know without any shadow of doubt my information was absolutely spot on.
Google him today and you will discover he is a self-proclaimed barbel expert. In fact the trio did claim to be the ‘famous’ Team Barbel on their own web site. Well let me explain something this bloke really needs to grasp. There’s a lot more to this media lark than running around telling folk you’re famous and claiming to have expertise.
Of course, his ‘fame’ has dragged in a few sponsors and good luck to him with that. But most of us who have been around for longer than 5 minutes recognise sponsorship brings with it a special burden of responsibility. The angling trade is quite a small family and unless you have exceptional grounds you simply don’t go around publicly slagging a rival company’s representatives. His own sponsors will definitely not be happy, especially when the bloke he’s slandering has been a ‘friend’ of the company that hired him as a media whore for the better part of 20 years.
So what’s to do about it? I could return the favour, name him here and slag him off with my unique brand of panache and style. Or I could write to each and every one of his sponsors to say how proud they must feel of his actions. Of course I’ve chosen the minimum effort, maximum damage route. Although by now he will already be aware of that…
With luck he’ll learn valuable lessons from this experience, such as if you’re going to pull the trigger make sure the gun’s not pointing at your own foot and perhaps choose your adversaries wisely. In other words, ‘Do yourself a favour and don’t fcuk with me again, Ade!’
What I would like to make clear is if he, or anyone else, has a beef with me, for whatever reason, why not behave like a responsible adult and send me a private message via this web site, or via my Facebook Page? Then we can discuss the matter like grown ups and resolve things outside of the public glare.
Posting insults in the hope of gaining brownie points from a limited audience of dullards is not the smartest move when the bloke you’re targeting has a pretty decent track record when it comes to stamping on fleas, now is it?
I’m normally a reasonable bloke and certainly nothing like the person this very small, insular group try to depict me as. By my reckoning I abandoned internet fishing forums more than 5 years ago. I have not (so far) even mentioned the arsehole who set up the tribute site in my blog for the past 2 years, in fact he’s been named and shamed just three times in total over the past 4 years and on each occasion it has been a response to direct provocation – for example, when he stole an image of my wife, doctored it and then posted it on multiple Internet sites along with hurtful slurs and insults, rounding off with, ‘Cue [sic] Bob going beserk…’. He’s also posted doctored images of me, and so on.
But we’re at a crossroads. This is the blue pill, red pill moment for all concerned. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and say it’s over, this is the end. Already I have spent 5 years ignoring taunts and blocking individuals from posting on my web site, blocking them on social media, etc. but still the harassment and stalking continues.
So let me be perfectly clear and unequivocal. I want to hear no more from Tony Rocca, Michael Joyce, Chris Pearson, Lee Robert Fletcher, or for that matter Ade Kiddell. I don’t want to read a single reference to me by those named above anywhere on the Internet, be that in blogs, in forums or on social media. You will not steal or doctor images, spread malicious gossip or malice. From here on in I am off limits to you. This is your very public warning.
Your details have been given to the Police, including a list of alias’s, multiple IP addresses, witnesses, the whole damned lot. A detailed submission is on file and I will decide whether to initiate a civil action after Christmas – and that could be this Christmas or a future one. The statute regarding pre-2012 actions makes interesting reading, especially how they can be invoked.
In an ideal world I will never have to breathe those names again, I certainly don’t wish to hear from them, but if anyone discovers evidence of anything defamatory communicated about me by one of the individuals named above, on or after today, Dec 8th, 2014, and brings it to my attention they will be rewarded.
I have been assured by the Police that any further breach of the Protection Of Freedoms Act will result in the dossier being updated and it is then likely to be presented to the Crown Prosecution Service. I hope this message is abundantly clear and these individuals will have the common sense to go away and hopefully enjoy the rest of their lives.
Do I think it’s all over? I do now!
Footnote 1: Anyone who’s hobby involves hiding behind a keyboard spouting bile should take the time out to do a little research on the Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012. You’ll find plenty of summaries online that will avoid having to trawl through the minutiae of legal jargon. Focus on two areas, stalking and harassment (Sections 2 and 4). Consider the penalty can be a jail sentence and then perhaps switch off the computer, calm down, take a hike and maybe try to find a life of your own?
Footnote 2: The second thing to read up on carefully is collective action. What seemed like a good idea at the time, a bit of fun, it’s them not me, I didn’t mean to cause offense, was just joining in the banter, etc., could dump you in a whole load of trouble. Wise up folks, you may think you are acting independently when you are clearly not, you might think it’s just a bit of fun. It’s definitely not. So at least be aware of the consequences of your actions. Being ignorant (of the law or otherwise) is not going to help you when these ‘mates’ land you in the dock.
Shame it’s come to this but I think that makes things perfectly clear, don’t you?
Never Let The Truth Spoil A Good Tale
And the entertainment continues! This is a brilliant film. Watch and be mesmerised. Listen to the message. It’ll will warm the cockles of your heart. Such a shame that its the biggest load of propaganda you are ever likely to see.
I desperately wanted to believe it was true.
Unfortunately it’s another one of those tree-hugging fallacies, so just enjoy it as a bit of escapism, then its faultless. Unfortunately it’s been proved beyond doubt to be a complete and utter lie.
Re-introducing predators doesn’t automatically heal the world, as much as we’d like it to. Otters, anyone? Seals on the Severn?
You Like Eels?
So, if my encounter with slime balls hasn’t bored you rigid then let’s relax with a little music from a band I have a great affection for. This bunch of Eels don’t come jellied, have no connection with the National Anguilla Club, nor will they turn you into a slime ball if you catch them. It’s odd, quirky and just up my street. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Eels…